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Planning helps with being focused, simplifies decision-making

Tips to kickstart your healthy lifestyle

You want to exercise more as well, eat better and have fun while doing it

It is important that you fit in some time for exercise, even if it is just a 20-minute workout.
It is important that you fit in some time for exercise, even if it is just a 20-minute workout.
Image: 123RF

It’s a brand-new year and you’ve probably made some promises to yourself regarding your diet. You want to exercise more as well, eat better and have fun while doing it. We’ve been there as well, and hopefully with the help of some of the tips we’ve received, we can help you start if you haven’t.  

Meal prepping

Meal prepping is perfect for people with a busy schedule or for those that are trying to stop making spontaneous purchases of not-so-healthy foods. It is perfect for those who just want to be consistent in eating healthier. The folks at electronic appliance maker, LG, have compiled some tips to help you with meal planning.

Start with a clear plan

Kickstart your healthy lifestyle by researching and saving a few yummy and healthy recipes your family won’t be able to resist. Next, write out your meals for the week and assign specific days to specific foods.

Planning every step of your healthy eating journey keeps you focused and simplifies the decision-making process for the rest of the week. You could even use a daily planner or calendar to schedule your meals and stay organised, making it easier and less time-consuming to create a shopping list. Bonus!

Prepping cooked rice, roasted or steamed veg and some grilled chicken or other protein are building block to simple, healthy and nutritious meals for lunch or supper. These become quick bowls, power salads or quick sandwiches or quesadillas.

Grated cheese, cut fruit and veggies and some dips can be quick snacks that anyone can help themselves to.

Packing your refrigerator in an organised way, using all the baskets and storage options allows your family to grab and go when on the run, or give your little ones some independence to help themselves when you are otherwise occupied.

Challenge yourself

By planning and cooking make-ahead meals, you’ll not only be eating mindfully, you’re also bound to save time and money. Your refrigerator and microwave play essential roles here to keep your prepped ingredients fresh throughout the week, and to warm at dinner time.

Use your sweet tooth to your advantage

Having a sweet tooth can be your downfall as too much sugar can have an adverse effect on your health. So you can use your love for things that are sweet to help you stop consuming too much sugar.

You can do these by going dark, that is by consuming dark chocolate which “contains higher levels of cocoa and less sugar”. Chocolate manufacturer, Lindt, has some steps for you to try in achieving this:

Start with a chocolate that’s a little darker than you’re used to.

Start with the lowest percentage, 70%, and stay at that level until your taste buds adapt (one to two weeks, depending on how affected your sweet tooth is), then move up again.

In this way, you’re basically taking your own brain by the lobes and using the principles of gustatory habituation to move its preferences in the direction you want.

This brain-training technique translates to other foods as well, and you’ll start to favour other foods that have less sugar in them as well. You won’t want the sugary foods and snacks as much anymore.

In this way, chocolate is not the problem for your sugar intake and excessive sweet tooth – it’s the solution.

Make time for exercise

It is important that you fit in some time for exercise, even if it is just a 20-minute workout, say the people at Bestmed Medical Scheme’s Corporate Services and Wellness department.

You should try combining your workouts with socialising by doing it with a friend and committing to working out together. Exercising with a friend is a great way to ensure you see your fitness goals through.

Hydrate

Keeping hydrated is crucial for your health and wellbeing but during the festive frenzy we tend to forget this. Drinking water helps with your metabolism and it is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions. Drinking water also help with weight loss, it regulates body temperature, flushes body waste and it boosts performance during exercise.

It is common knowledge that during the festive season some of us are inclined to neglect our diets, as well as our exercise routines, but with these quick and easy tips, you are guaranteed to enjoy the festive season and have no regrets in the new year.

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